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how long does marijuana stay in your blood

how long does marijuana stay in your blood

how long does marijuana stay in your blood

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how long does marijuana stay in your blood,

THC metabolites can remain in the bloodstream for two to seven days, contingent on the frequency of use.

A 2009 study published in the journal Addiction tested THC blood concentration levels in 25 frequent, long-term cannabis users over seven days of abstinence. Sixteen users had at least one positive THC test during those seven days. Six users displayed positive THC levels on the final day of abstinence.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana, sometimes referred to as weed, pot, and ganja, is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis sativa plant. It is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In 2017, about 26 million Americans age 12 and older had used marijuana in the past month, which is equivalent to 9.6% of this population.

Marijuana is most commonly smoked in pipes, joints, or bongs. It can also be smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have had their tobacco removed and replaced with marijuana. In addition, people sometimes add marijuana to food or brew it as a tea.

how long does marijuana stay in your blood
how long does marijuana stay in your blood

How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects?

The effects of marijuana can vary from person to person. Some people may feel euphoric and relaxed while others feel anxious and paranoid. In other cases, people report feeling “dopey” and experience a loss of interest in activities or an inability to grasp concepts.

The chemical in marijuana that makes you feel “high” is tetrahydrocannabinol, also called delta-9-THC or simply THC. It enters the body’s bloodstream rapidly after smoking marijuana.
but this can vary based on the amount taken as well as physiological factors such as absorption and rates of metabolism and excretion can influence drug concentrations in circulation.
  • Dry mouth
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Pleasurable body sensations
  • Increased appetite (“the munchies”)
  • Relaxation
  • Stimulation
  • Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble with thinking, memory, and problem-solving
  • Increased heart rate

short-term effects

It is important to know that not all marijuana is created equal. Unlike other prescription drugs, marijuana products aren’t standardized and can vary considerably in quality, makeup, and dosage.

This variance may contribute to how quickly you feel the effects and what those effects are. THC can interact with alcohol, blood thinners, and anti-anxiety medications, so it’s important to discuss your marijuana use with your doctor.

how long does marijuana stay in your blood
how long does marijuana stay in your blood

Marijuana Length of Effects

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the effects of marijuana include:1

  • Distorted senses.
  • Altered sense of time.
  • Mood changes.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Trouble thinking and problem-solving.
  • Impaired memory.

Not all users of marijuana enjoy the experience. In fact, many people who use marijuana report unpleasant side effects, such as hallucinations, anxiety, and paranoia.1

The effects can develop within minutes if the drug is smoked. If eaten, users may not feel any effects for a few hours. The effects normally last 3-4 hours but can last longer if the drug is eaten.4

How long is it detectable via drug testing?

Drug tests measure weed and its by-products, or metabolites. These metabolites remain in your system long after weed’s effects have worn off.

Urine testing

According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, weed is detectable in urine for the following amounts of time after last use:

  • Occasional users (up to three times a week): 3 days
  • Moderate users (four times a week): 5 to 7 days
  • Chronic users (daily): 10 to 15 days
  • Chronic heavy users (multiple times a day): more than 30 days

Cannabis metabolites are fat-soluble, which means they bind to fat molecules in your body. As a result, it can take some time for them to leave your system.

Urine testing is the most common testing methodTrusted Source.

how long does marijuana stay in your blood
how long does marijuana stay in your blood

Blood testing

The method of consumption plays a big part in how long THC can be detected in your blood.

Research shows that, when inhaled, THC is rapidly absorbed and reaches its highest concentration in your blood within the first three to ten minutes.

The same research showed that when consuming cannabis in an edible (or oil), peak THC plasma levels were achieved around one to two hours and in some cases even longer.

Blood tests for cannabis, as with other methods, will depend on the frequency of consumption. A study from 2009 also showed cannabis could be found for up to 6 days after last consumption in daily consumers.

While there is no definitive answer, the general rules are as follows:

  • For individuals who consume cannabis intermittently, cannabis can stay in your blood for up to 24 hours.
  • For frequent or regular consumers, cannabis can stay in your blood for up to 72 hours.
  • Cannabis has been found in blood for up to 6 days.

Blood is not a strong indicator of intoxication.

Saliva testing

According to a 2014 reviewTrusted Source on cannabinoids in oral fluid, weed is detectable in saliva for the following amounts of time after last use:

  • Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
  • Chronic users: 1 to 29 days

Weed can enter the saliva through smoking and exposure to smoke. However, its metabolites are only present in saliva when weed has been smoked or ingested.

In jurisdictions where weed is legal, oral fluid may be used for roadside testing.

Hair testing

Hair tests are by far the most accurate form of drug test and can detect cannabis for up to 90 days after use.

And work because cannabis (and other drugs) leave trace amounts in the hair follicles after use.

Since hair grows at a rate of half an inch per month, scientists can measure what drugs a person has taken by looking at a small segment (1 and a half inches) of hair from close to the scalp.

Hair tests do come with some disadvantages, however. The biggest disadvantage is false positives. False positives in drug tests are when a test shows up as positive, despite the person being tested not having used cannabis.

This can happen with hair tests because they measure oil in the hair, and this can be contaminated (e.g. if the person being tested had come into contact with someone who used cannabis).

how long does marijuana stay in your blood
how long does marijuana stay in your blood

factors that influence detection

Numerous factors influence whether a test detects marijuana, including the following:

Test sensitivity

More sensitive tests can detect lower doses of marijuana. Tests include blood, urine, hair, and saliva.

THC dose

Marijuana drug tests look for THC, not marijuana. So the amount of THC that a person consumes is the significant factor.

The effects of THC are cumulative. This means that a person who smokes several times over several days has consumed a higher THC dose than someone who smokes once, and so they are more likely to test positive.

The strength of each dose of THC also matters. Without sensitive laboratory equipment, a person cannot reliably determine the strength of their marijuana.

How “high” a person feels is also not a reliable measure, because numerous factors other than THC dose can intensify or weaken this feeling.

Body fat

Since fat stores marijuana, people with higher body fat concentrations may metabolize marijuana more slowly than a person with less body fat.

Body mass index (BMI) is one way to judge body fat. However, since weight, and therefore BMI, increase with muscle mass, BMI is not a perfect measure of body fat.


Typically, females have more body fat than males. This means that females may metabolize marijuana slightly more slowly.


Dehydration increases concentrations of THC in the body. While drinking lots of water is unlikely to affect a drug test significantly, severe dehydration might.


Exercise will not significantly change the rate at which the body metabolizes THC. Exercising before a drug test, however, might.

A small study of 14 regular marijuana usersTrusted Source assesses the effects of 35 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike. The results conclude that THC concentrations increased by a statistically significant amount, suggesting that exercise right before a drug test may increase the likelihood of a positive test result.

The researchers believe that exercise may cause fat cells to release THC. In their results, people with higher BMI had more significant increases in THC levels.


For a drug test to be negative, the body must eliminate THC from the system, as well as metabolic chemicals that have links to THC. People with faster metabolisms typically eliminate THC more quickly than those with slower metabolisms.

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